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It was 1:00 a.m. in the morning and I noticed that something was wrong. I had been sleeping for about two hours up to that point. Well, if you could call it that. The 1:00 alarm was a sharp ache in the middle of my back. Let's just say sofa beds in 1976 weren't known for being overly comfortable. Fast forward to about 1989. I had gone to visit my Aunt who had a hide-a-bed in her living room that I somehow knew I would be "sleeping" on that night. Sure enough, bed time came and she told me that I could have the sleeper sofa. I sort of chuckled inside at the ironic turn of phrase. I didn't associate "sleeper" and "sofa" together. Here it was about 3:00 a.m. and I felt the dreaded bar in the back, and eventuality that I expected.


Manufacturers of sofa beds had made some big improvements in the comfort level of their products by the mid to late 90's, but it wasn't until I really slept through the night on one that I started giving them a second chance. I had been living under the presumption that all of these types of sofa beds were just uncomfortable.


It was about 2003 when I went to Chicago on a business trip. In our suite we had a pull-out bed that I actually volunteered for. It was pretty comfortable. There was no aching back in the wee hours of the morning to deal with, and no bar in the middle of my back to keep me awake. I woke up in the morning refreshed, happy, and very aware at what I had just experienced. I had actually slept comfortably through the night on a style of bed that used to be simply awful. How delightful! Sofa beds had earned my respect.


Okay, if you can relate to anything I've said so far then you know sofa beds have certainly earned the right to be in our homes. We no longer have to feel bad to have our guests sleep on them. We can honestly offer them the "sleeper sofa" without feeling guilty. I have discovered that the primary cause of the big improvements in these little wonders is that the mattresses used in most of these is now actually decent. They aren't 3" thick anymore. Thank goodness! Now you can easily buy sofa beds that have 7"-10" thick, comfortable mattresses in them. The higher end units have nicer mattresses. Makes sense to me.


When shopping for sofa beds, be absolutely certain that you buy something that has a good mattress in it. That means doing more than just looking at the pretty fabric it is covered in, or rubbing your hand over the supple leather. If you can't test the sofa or the mattress in person, then ask a sales rep for flex banner information about it. They can tell you how thick the mattress is, how it is constructed, and maybe even the brand. It doesn't do you or anyone else any good to get a sofa bed that is a pain in the you-know-where.


Most modern sofa beds are pleasant to look at, have solid structural designs, come in many types of coverings and fabrics, and most importantly, are comfortable to both sit and sleep on.


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